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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2022 Free Agent Profile: CB Carlton Davis III

Breaking down the contract situation for each of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2022 free agents, this time focusing on cornerback Carlton Davis III.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in addition to replacing the greatest quarterback of all time, are tasked with addressing the status of 26 free agents this offseason, including 10 starters.

Due to a lack of significant cap space — currently hovering just over $3 million, per Over the Cap — it won't be easy, if even possible, for the Bucs to bring all 26 players back, or even all of their first-teamers who are set to hit the market.

AllBucs is creating profiles for each of Tampa Bay's imminent free agents for the 2022 offseason. After previously breaking down wide receiver Chris Godwin's imminent free agent status, next up is cornerback Carlton Davis III, likely atop the Buccaneers' list of players to prioritize alongside Godwin.

We'll discuss the value each player provides the team and try our best to predict whether or not Tampa Bay will prioritize bringing them back.

CB Carlton Davis III

2021 stats (playoffs included): 12 games, 46 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, 12 defended passes, 55.1 completion percentage allowed (via Pro Football Focus)

Previous contract: Rookie contract four years, $4.39 million

Spotrac market value and projected contract: $19.7 million annually; five years, $98.4 million

Although he didn't play a full season in 2021 due to a quadriceps injury that earned him a trip to the injured reserve, Davis continued to prove his worth as Tampa Bay's No. 1 cornerback when he was on the field. He is the Buccaneers' strongest man-coverage corner and has a knack for making plays on the ball, seen by his whopping 52 defended passes over the last four years.

Davis' completion percentage allowed (55.1), across 69 targets, was the second-best season-long mark of his career, only behind his 52.4 rate in 2019 across 105 targets. Davis also allowed a career-best 10.7 yards per reception in 2021, per PFF.

Where Davis could stand to improve is as a tackler, as PFF dings him for having missed 15.9 percent of tackle opportunities his career. Coverage skills are, obviously, more important for a cornerback than tackling ability, but Tampa Bay could factor that weak spot in Davis' game into contract negotiations.

Whether it's the Buccaneers or another team that allows Davis to cash in on a long-term deal, his Spotrac projected contract would make him the second-highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, only behind Los Angeles Rams star Jalen Ramsey ($20 million per year on average).

Similar to last year with Godwin, we could see the Buccaneers using the franchise tag to keep Davis around in 2022 and work on a mega-extension during the 2023 offseason, as the team currently has $68.6 million in projected cap space to spend next spring per Over the Cap. The tag for cornerbacks this year is projected to be worth $17.3 million, nearly $2.5 million under Davis' projected value.

The space for 2023 could be diminished if Tampa Bay takes a similar approach to this offseason as it did last and borrow money from the future, but that doesn't appear as likely as it was a year ago when the Bucs were in a clear Super Bowl window.

Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.